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2013 Service Year ~ Notes on the Annual General Meeting. (October 6th 2012)
Annual General Meeting - Watchtower
Faithful and Discreet Slave
Special Metropolitan Public Witnessing Program
Updated 11.10.2012: Official News from
2013 Service Year ~ Notes on the Annual General Meeting. (October 6th 2012)
1. They gave highlights regarding the "Special Metropolitan Public Witnessing Program". This is a special project they started in Manhattan. The jw.org website has had some information about what this project is. They have so far placed 79000 books, 38,000 magazines and 2,700 Bibles studies. It was announced that this program has been very successful and therefore approved. They will be sending information to the branches with guidelines on how to set this up in their Countries and also letters will go out to all congregations regarding this too. The same posters and set up equipment used in this project can also be ordered
2. There was a short video that showed how the animated videos were created and a few letters from kids and families regarding their appreciation for it. One letter was read about a family with a 17 year old son that is autistic and this has caused him to have a obsession with collecting DVD's. Its been very hard for the family to reason with him regarding certain DVD's that the parents did not approve of. It was almost impossible to reason with him and at times he would get aggressive verbally and even physically. But after he watched the new video he on his own threw out some of his DVD collection that contained some magical themes. The parents were shocked and of course very happy that he was able to respond to this DVD. Also, as was mentioned at the convention, future videos will be available on the jw.org website. Each month there will be a new 1 minute short lesson or a new song. And then occasionally there will be a longer version like the DVD from the convention. They played the 1 minute video that will be released in January.
3. Yearly Text for 2013: Joshua 1:9
4. Also!! Next years Annual Meeting will also be tied into select Assembly halls in the US and some other English speaking countries. It will not be translated into other languages.
5. Now the big stuff. New Light: There were 6 talks by the governing body that lasted for 2 hours. It was a change in understanding of Matthew 24:45-47. The change is our understanding of who the Faithful and Discreet Slave are and when they were appointed. Also who/what are the domestics and belongings. Here is the sum up and of course there will be articles coming out in the Watchtower:
Because of the context of this chapter which is talking about 1914 onward it is no longer felt that the FDS was appointed in 33 CE. So verse 45 mentions the appointment of the FDS and this happened in 1919 after the cleansing of the organization. Who are the FDS?: is "a small group of anointed brothers during Jesus presence serving at Headquarters who are directly involved in the preparing and dispensing of spiritual food." This is in line with the scriptural example of how Jehovah has always used a small group of people to teach and dispense spiritual food to the many. In the 1st century not all of the anointed were involved with dispensing spiritual food, it was only the apostles and older men (governing body) that did so. So it is no longer the thinking that all anointed are part of FDS. Only those directly used to impart spiritual food. And the point was made that this does not mean the individual members of the GB are the FDS. They only act as the FDS when they are working as a collective body and making decisions regarding the dispensing of spiritual food.
Who are the Domestics: All who are fed spiritually whether anointed or of the other sheep. (guess we of the other sheep got a promotion from 'belongings' to Domestics! )
What about verse 46 & 47? It says: 46 Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. 47 Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings. verse 46 mentions Jesus 'arriving'. This is not in 1919 when he appointed the FDS but when Jesus comes during the Great Tribulation. This is based on the fact that the Greek word for’ arriving' is similar to those in verse 30 & 42 that mention Jesus'' 'coming'.
So what are the belongings? Previously it was thought that this dealt with the earth only. But the scripture is not that specific. So the belongings include the heavenly and earthly interests. The authority over the belongings will be given after the anointed receive their reward in heaven. So, all of the anointed will eventually be given this authority.
I'm sure there are lots of questions about this sum up, but at future WT will explain it in detail.
Annual Meeting 2012 (2).pdf
2013 Service Year ~ Notes on the Annual General Meeting_Page 2.pdf
by Andre Toutjian
Annual Meeting 2012Stanley Theater - Jersey City
The auditorium begins to fill in Jersey City. The atmosphere this week in Wallkill has been a buzzing of activity as family and friends arrive from all over the United States to attend. Everyone asks each other the same question "Do you have guests coming in for Annual Meeting?" There has been a mad rush here at Wallkill to get certain projects completed by the Annual Meeting. Projects like landscaping, parking garages, etc. All this in an effort to provide a neat, clean, presentation to the many guests who will be attending.
We met so many people. There is an amazing phenomenon that occurs when you have a room full of Witnesses from around the U.S.. You meet someone and within a minute or two of conversation you find out that you know someone in common or they have lived in an area where you used to live. We found a connection with almost every new friend we met. In the photo below Claudia meets a couple new friends. The sister in the photo is from the Sloughhouse area just outside Sacramento. We knew several people in common. The brother in the photo was raised in Sacramento. He knew brothers and sisters that Claudia and I work with in RBC #12. It's a small, small world in Jehovah's orgaization.
Brother Anthony Morris of the Governing Body began the program and acted as chairman throughout the Annual Meeting program.
Brother Morris started by presenting 1Corinthians 14:26 "What is to be done, then, brothers? When YOU come together, one has a psalm, another has a teaching, another has a revelation, another has a tongue, another has an interpretation. Let all things take place for upbuilding."
This is the purpose of the Annual Meeting. To educate and upbuild the brotherhood. He then recounted many historic dates. 1919 when several members of the Society were in prision. October 2, 1982 was the first time the Corporation meeting was not held in U.S., instead it was held in Canada that year. September 13, 1983 was the first time the annual meeting was held in Britain. In 1984 was the Centennial Meeting. There was a special brochure presented at that meeting. Brother Morris showed his copy of the brochure, full of notes and observations. 2009 was the clarification on the "Generation".
After this portion, a video was shown that presented the work that has been completed around the world with the money collected from the worldwide building fund. It also showed that over the years the percentage of contribution from the local lands to construct their congregations has been rising and rising, dispite the economic hardships in many of these developing countries. Here are several photos from the presentation. Many of them were in "before", and "after" presentations of the improvements made. There were also photos showing the repairs made after natural disasters had occurred.
Repairs after storm damage
Earthquake damaged facility.
The type of structure they used to meet in for congregation meetings.
This is the type of facilities that are replacing replacing old very primitive Kingdom Halls.
The Brothers used to meet here in this broken down structure.
This replacement will serve them well, giving them a much cleaner and more comfortable place for congregation meetings.
Next, Brother Maber interviewed three couples. Each of the husbands were serving as Branch Overseers in foreign countries. They were the Kelcey, Johansen, and Hidelberg families. Sister Kelcey recounted her story of appreciation for the change in the educational arrangement. She said that the brothers used to be the only ones educated when they attended special school sessions. She remembers when Brother Schroeder said that the Governing Body had decided that wives would receive training, attending most of the classes their husbands attended. She said that was a great day!
Many other experiences were discussed. Time doesn't permit me to recount many more of them. One of the brothers summed up their years of training by stating "We have been receiving a training program for being faithful to Jehovah."
Next Brother Brough interviewed brothers and sisters involved in the Manhattan Project which is formally known as the "Special Metropolitan Public Witnessing Program." On the left of the panel was brother Houten the circuit overseer who was managing that project. He said we are reaching tens of thousands of people who were previously sheltered on the floors of high rise residence buildings that Witnesses were not allowed access to. He said we can preach to the door man but no farther than that. Now we find them on the street and the reaction has been phenomenon. They have one location that an estimated 50,000 people walk past in one day.
The program started with applications being sent out and from the applicants 775 experienced pioneers were selected to participate. They work the selected locations from 8a.m. to 8p.m. 7 days a week. They look for locations that meet these parameters. High public traffic and a safe location. They test the location for a week and the ones that prove effective, they keep as selected locations.
At one location during a 2 day time frame 14 studies were started. When one brother was asked if he thought Jehovah was blessing the work, he replied "Are you kidding? We are getting NEW YORKERS to give us their personal contact information!" The work has reenergized the pioneers in these areas.
Next the program is being expanded to Chicago, Los Angeles, and other areas in New York. Here are the statistics so far for the Special Metropolitan Public Witnessing Program. Placements so far...79,000 books, 38,000 mags., 2,700 bible studies. Now the REAL INTERESTING NEW INFO!!!
Many have asked if they could get the mobile carts, posters, and stands for literature that have been produced for the SMPWP? The announcement was made that instructions will be sent to all branches outlining how congregations can obtain carts, posters and book stands like the ones used in this program for use in their local areas! You should have heard the clapping for that announcement. It was incredible!
This is what we have to look forward to using in the future in our own territories!
The next part was a report on the production of the DVD "Listen, Obey, and be Blessed." This photo shows children watching T.V.. The statement was made that our children are under attack and we want to fight back with everything we have available. This DVD is one of those tools to fight the influences of Satan's system. The video presented showed how the DVD was produced. It outlined how the brothers and sisters with special talents in this computer field worked long, long, hours to get it produced according to the deadline for public release. In one photo it showed a brother asleep at his desk. What commitment they showed and what a fantastic DVD they produced. Here are some shots from the video about production of the DVD.
The progress from drawings to actual characters was described and demonstrated.
Drawings start the process.
Here a brother looks in a mirror he is holding in his hand to see his own facial expressions relating to a specific emotion or idea and then he transposes that expression to the image on the screen to make a real life look.
Then the voices and music are added.
The result is a DVD that helps young and old to follow the simple truth of the expression, Listen, Obey, and be Blessed. Brother Morris gave several experiences of how the DVD had affected families around the world. One family had great success with their 17 year old autustic child who was fascinated with DVDs of all kinds, some good, some not so good. After viewing the "Listen" DVD he applied the information and began to give up questionable DVDs that he had cherished. The family said it impacted him an a way that they were unable to duplicate with any other method of instruction.
One 3 year old received several presents from her non witness grand parents. One of them was a story book with several stories about witches and magic. She threw it out. The parents said we may have some trouble explaining to the grand parents why she hasn't been reading the book they gave her, but that was the least of their worries.
One parent recounted how they downloaded the DVD to their smart phone and play it for their 1 1/2 year old every time she becomes fussy. She calms down and tries to sing along. Now the new information!
Starting Jan. 2013 there will be shorter 1 minute videos on the JW.ORG web site specifically designed for children and presented in animated format. There will be one new 1 minute video or one new song each month. Periodically there will be longer videos like the "Listen" video presented on the web site.
Then we got a real treat. A chorus of young ones sang the song "Listen, Obey, and be Blessed." There was not a dry eye in the entire crowd. It is comforting to know that the Governing Body is interested in educating and protecting every age group withing our organization. After the song we got to see the new 1 minute video what will soon appear on the JW.ORG web site.
It is about a kid who wants a lolly pop but is told he couldn't have one. He initially begins to steal one then is reminded of how Jehovah feels about stealing as he remembers the training he received from his parents.
He thinks he should put them back because Jehovah doesn't like stealing.
He remembers the lesson he learned from the listening to the great teacher book. He puts them back.
After Song 120 was sung, Brother Jeff Jackson began his talk entitled "How is spiritual food prepared?" Here are some highlights. Rev. 1:1-2 shows the flow of information flow occurs from Jehovah to Jesus to the Angel and eventually to John for distribution to followers here on earth. Two principles are used when preparing spiritual food.
1. Daniel 12:4 “And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end. Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant.” Thus the writing department brothers are roving about in the scriptures looking for spiritual information to present.2. 1Corinthians 4:6 Now, brothers, these things I have transferred so as to apply to myself and A·pol′los for YOUR good, that in our case YOU may learn the [rule]: “Do not go beyond the things that are written,” in order that YOU may not be puffed up individually in favor of the one against the other." The things written do not go beyond what can be found in the scriptures.
Where do ideas for articles come from? Brother Jackson said that some of you have been in the meeting room of the Governing Body. He said as you have noticed, "There is no hole in the ceiling." Ideas do not drop from heaven into their meeting room. Ideas come from suggestions from Branch, District, Circuit overseers. Reports from around the world show trends that may lead to an article. Those reports show what problems and challenges our brothers are facing and articles are written to address them. Some articles come from publishers who have questions that have arisen during their personal study programs.
How are the articles produced? This is done at the world headquarters. The Governing Body is very involved. They preview any information prior to printing. If editing is needed it is done at that time. All the Govern Body members read the information before it is printed, some reading it 2-3 times. Even if a Governing Body member submits an article it still goes through the 70 step process that every article goes through. 70 different checks and reviews are done for EVERY ARTICLE.
How are new truths revealed? Brother Jackson stated "First of all, the truths are already there." A question comes up about an idea so research is done. The research goes back to the Governing Body. Bro. Jackson said emphatically "This is not a rubber stamp process!" If all the GB members do not agree on the matter it is put on hold and revisited at another time, sometimes a year or two goes by.
Some treasured ideas have gone through this process, like the use of the cross, birthday and Christmas celebrations. It was "Faith and Humility" that allowed these changes to take place as they did with revisions in understanding on topics like the spiritual temple in 1972, or the Superior Authorities in 1962. There were revisions on understanding of the Keys of the Kingdom in 1979, 2007 the calling to heaven, and the Dragnet in 2011. He said we are always moving ahead and that new adjustments were coming. Then he said "You will just have to listen to the next couple parts to see what they are."
Next Brother Garrit Losch gave the talk "Which channel is Jehovah using." He discussed Matthew 25:45-47 dealing with the Faithful and Discreet Slave. He asked, who really is this slave? There have been differing views inside and outside our organization like, each faithful Christian, each anointed member, the great crowd were included. These are all not correct.
His establishment of the new and up to date understanding was presented very rapidly so I couldn't get really detailed notes but here is the end result. Every member of the anointed are not part of the Faithful and Discreet Slave.
He stated that the "Belongings" that the Slave has the oversight for are "All kingdom facilities on earth, the preaching work, and the members of the great crowd." He said there was not a worldwide network that would allow each anointed member to be involved in providing food at the proper time. So who is the F&D Slave, he said.....Stay tuned into the next couple of talks.
Next Brother Guy Pierce gave the talk "Tell us when will these things be?" He discussed the fact that Dan. 12:4 says that information would be "sealed up." The light would get brighter and brighter. In 1914 Jesus became King but did not become a Judge at that time. He has not been judging the sheep and goats since 1914. The judgement time if referring to the time of the great tribulation.
He asked, then "When did the F&D Slave come into existence. Matthew 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken."
The context of this is in the last days. The F&D Slave came into existence after the start of his presence in 1914, NOT 33 C.E.. In 1919 the F&D Slave was appointed to feed the domestics food at the proper time. The second appointment is when all things are turned over to the Slave.
Matthew 24:30 "And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Matthew 24:42 and 44 all relate to Jesus coming when he ends this system of things. Verse 46 "Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so." That's when all belongings are turned over. So Brother Pierce said the F&D Slave came into existence in 1919 not 33 C.E. and the second appointment of all belongings in verse 47 happens at Armageddon when Jehovah through Christ destroys this system of things.
Next Brother Samuel Herd gave the talk relating to the feeding work in application of the scripture at Matthew 14:14-21. The followers of Jesus said it is late, send them away so they can buy food. Jesus said "YOU, GIVE THEM" food. And the miracle followed. The flow was from Jesus, to his disciples, to the crowd. This was not a taste, it was a full meal. Then he stated this principle slowly and with emphasis "Feeding Many Through The Hands Of a Few."
How would feeding continue? The 12 Apostles carried this on after Jesus death. Jesus had given them training in preaching and ministerial training along with personal council as needed. He was grooming them for the oversight they would have to implement. Jesus said "Feed my sheep."
From 33 C.E. onward the Apostles were first used then the "Older Men" with them made up the Governing Body in Jerusalem. They were "Feeding" his sheep. Then after the 1st century, the foretold apostasy happened. After the death of the restraining force (the Apostles) really took off. The harvest season began in 1914 at the end of the growing season for the wheat and weeds. How did Jesus use the principle "Feeding the many through the hands of a few?" He restated that pattern "Feeding many through the hands of a few." He said, stand by and listen to the next talk.....(The suspense is killing me!)
Brother Steven Lett's talk title was "Who really is the Faithful and Discreet Slave." He said previously we thought it was the "Composite group of the anointed on earth at any one time." He said that question was raised because there would be an "unknown" associated with the identity of that slave. If the F&D Slave had existed since 33 C.E. there would be no "unknown" or question associated with it's identity because miracles were performed back then and there was would be no question if the F&D Slave had actually existed since 33 C.E. so they couldn't have existed back then.
In 1914 the harvest begins with many imitation Christians claiming to be legitimate. So the question is valid and crucial. "Who is the F&D Slave?" Is it all anointed members on earth? NO.
Is it individual Governing Body members? No. Here is the new definition of who the F&D Slave is.
"A small group of anointed brothers during Christ presence who are DIRECTLY involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food."
The individual Governing Body members are not the F&D Slave, only when they are working as a small body with others and are directly involved preparing and dispensing the information being sent out the worldwide brotherhood. While we believe there may have been those of the anointed on earth from 33 C.E. onward it wasn't until 1919 that the first selection of the F&D Slave began and after that time there was a "clear channel" for spiritual feeding.
The next new point was relating to the Domestics. Simply put the Domestics are "All those who are fed spiritually." This involves the Great Crowd. Even individual members of the Governing Body when they are being spiritually fed are members of the Domestics.
When does Jesus appoint the F&D Slave over all his belongings. His belongings are not just earthly things. It includes the Kingdom that was established in 1914. Jesus appoints the Slave over all his belongings when he "Comes" to destroy this system at the time of the great tribulation.
Will the F&D Slave receive a greater reward in heaven? NO. Luke 22:28 relates to the covenant for a kingdom, which extends to all the anointed.
Brother David Splane gave the final talk entitled "What does all this really mean? He summarized the previous talks. He stated that Matthew 24:45-47 happens during Christ's presence. Who is the F&D Slave? "A small group of anointed brothers serving during Christ presence who are directly involved in producing and dispensing spiritual food." They were appointed in 1919 to provide this food to the Domestic, involving the great crowd.
When did the slave appear? Previously we thought 33 C.E. He stated "The Slave is not 1900 years old." There is no first century application to that scripture, it is fulfilled during the time of the end.
He restated that the Apostles in the 1st century were not part of the F&D Slave. We believe there were anointed on the earth since 33 C.E. but there was no "Clear Channel" for dispensing spiritual food through the ages.
Then he asked again "Who really is the F&D Slave?" Our old idea was all the anointed on earth at any one time. Now we understand that the Slave was appointed in 1919 after the cleansing of the temple. During Charles Russel's time the F&D Slave was "taking shape" and "being formed."
He used the illustration of a Ministerial Servant that handles the work of an elder but is not yet appointed. When he is appointed some may say "I already thought he was an elder." The same was true of the development of the F&D Slave with a final appointment in 1919.
Who are the Domestics? They are not just the anointed. All those who are fed spiritually, anointed and other sheep are all the Domestics. He said this really "dignifies" the other sheep in a way not previously understood.
When with the F&D Slave be appointed over all Christ's belongings? This happens at Christs arrival to destroy this system at the start of the Great Tribulation.
Then Bro. Splane said "So what will change come Monday morning? Nothing!". We will carry on as we are doing now. Jehovah is our source of spiritual food. We are just like cooks and waiters, using his ingredients to put together tasty spiritual meals.
He next announced the year text for 2013 = Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and strong. Do not suffer shock or be terrified, for Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go.”
Attendance Stats: Last year 14,529...This Year:
4,948 Jersey City
Next year's annual meeting will be on October 5, 2013 and a new arrangement! The meeting will be tied into selected assembly halls transmitted in English only. No direction as to who will be able to attend.
Brother Morris during one of his parts made this statement about some new statistics. I think it can relate to many areas of our life. He said "Well, you'll never hurt your eyes looking at the bright side of things."__
This annual meeting was one of the brightest events we have ever had the privilege of attending and I hope you are encouraged and motivated by this brief taste. This event has given Claudia and I further proof that we are truly in Jehovah's spirit guided organization and there is no better or safer place to be on this planet.
Then there was the "After the Annual General Meeting" party. Not sure if they served cocktails or not.
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